If you've never read or seen a comedy of errors or farcical play like those of William Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde, then you might find this more ent...moreIf you've never read or seen a comedy of errors or farcical play like those of William Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde, then you might find this more entertaining than I did. Having studied Wilde's slightly more modern The Importance of Being Earnest in great detail as a teenager and later watching An Ideal Husband, you come to realise this genre is little more than a one-trick pony; if you've seen one, you've seen them all. Besides minimal alterations in events, only the cast and the production values change from play to play, from performance to performance. Originality is harder to come by in these older and somewhat old fashioned, and perhaps less sophisticated, plays. Wilde managed to stand out from the crowd with his tricky witticisms and absurdities. She Stoops to Conquers possesses nothing so unique, as far as I can tell.
The repetitive nature of this sort of play's light humour devices such as the use of puns, wordplay, slapstick and the heavily relied upon mistaken identity trope (which is used here), concluding with the inevitable romantic happy ever after enacted by genteel, upper class main characters making satirical references to gender and class politics before falling in love at the drop of a hat (sometimes literally), tend to leave me a little bored of the predictability while only evoking a chuckle or two at most.
Also repetitive was the use of the word 'impudent'. Unfortunately this was written pre-thesaurus so I'll have to forgive Goldsmith's overuse since he didn't have easy access to synonyms like we do today.
Honestly, the skillful audio portrayal of She Stoops to Conquer by the distinct voices of a full cast, especially SpikeJames Marsters, is solely responsible for capturing and maintaining my attention throughout. I imagined Mr. Marsters in his Buffy persona's pre-vampire days as a less feeble version of the English gentleman William Pratt. You'd never know he's 100% American from his superb upper crust and unrefined British accents. Twice my age and yet I still perk up at the sound of his voice. *smiles*
On paper, the effect of this Returnee's reappearance had the potential to be h...more*Cross-posted on BookLikes and Wordpress.
A great idea poorly executed.
On paper, the effect of this Returnee's reappearance had the potential to be heart-wrenching as a 37-year-old man attempts to solve a life-changing dilemma: to continue with his present life with a wife and child, or leave them for his 17-year-old first love who disappeared, and was presumed dead, 20 years ago.
I really wanted to like it but the writing is rushed and choppy. (view spoiler)[The inclusion of his wife's affair was incongruous, over the top and seemed like it was added at the last minute to lessen any guilt Peter might feel if he decided to leave Samantha for Tracy. (hide spoiler)]
The Choice ended (view spoiler)[logically (hide spoiler)], the way I thought it would, albeit in a rough and rushed manner. However, unlike in the other prequels, we experience nothing from the Returnee's perspective except the effect she has on her mother via her anxious phone calls to Peter.
From the quality of writing in The Sparrow, I know Jason Mott can do better. I just hope The Returned embodies the skill I know he possesses.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The Sparrow is a huge improvement over its predecessor The First. Whereas The First serves as an introduction to a world where the dead suddenly return alive, The Sparrow delves into the moral issues that arise from it. Are the Returned human? Are they still the people they were when they died? How is this possible: Is it magic or can science explain it? And do we sacrifice our humanity in seeking the answers to these questions?
Married couple Heather and Matt face these questions when they discover Returned little girl Tatiana. Heather embraces the child, accepting and caring for her while husband Matt treats the Returnee as a thing to be exploited:
"These things aren't people. They're something else. And if there's a way for us to capitalize on this, then I'm all for that."
Heather is appalled at his reaction but replies with compassion, hoping to change his mind:
"If I could see my mother again... If my mother somehow shows up in all of this, if I get a call that she's been found in some far-off part of the world, I'd pray to God that the person who finds her would take care of her, that they would get her back to me, that they would have the decency to let me decide whether or not she was real, whether or not I could love her again."
Fear and uncertainty in the face of this bizarre phenomenon is to be expected, but the actions taken driven by these feelings have shown to be, in some cases, unaccountably violent and homicidal. In an attempt to understand Matt's rejection of Tatiana, Heather believes that since he's never experienced loss, he's unable to reconcile what the Returned can mean to those left behind in their grief:
'Heather was certain that Matt's problem with Tatiana stemmed from the fact that he had never lost anyone. Both of his parents were still alive. His brothers and sisters, even his grandparents, were all still alive. He had never known the loneliness of waking in the middle of the night from a dream of spending time with a mother who had been dead nearly a decade.'
The object of contention, Tatiana, is shown to be a normal human child and nothing indicates that she is otherwise. She possesses memories of her former life with loving parents, who took it in turns to make up bedtime stories to entertain her. Unfortunately her short life, and that of her mother's, was cut short when violence came to her home in what I assumed to be the Rwandan genocide in 1994, leaving her father bereft and alone (who was away at the time, helping those in need).
I'm definitely looking forward to the next installments of this series.(less)
Realistic portrayals of the bureaucratic response to an unexplainable event and the emotional turmoil experi...more*Cross-posted on BookLikes and Wordpress.
Realistic portrayals of the bureaucratic response to an unexplainable event and the emotional turmoil experienced if you were to find out a dead loved one was in fact alive, drew me in as the scene was set for the rest of the series.
However, upon finishing, I was left feeling a mild mixture of indifference and curiosity, reminding me of the way short stories in anthologies are written; leaving what comes next, or reasons for what takes place, up to the imaginations of readers. Although the last sentence is ominous, indicating a not-so-happy ending.
As I own the other currently published installments in this series, I'll definitely be continuing, especially as there's a TV series based on it in the works.(less)